What is the name of your child's school? (Please report on one school per survey.)
Hong Kong International School (HKIS)
In what town or city is this school located?
How would you describe this school? (i.e. American, British, International, Local, etc.)
What grade levels are represented at this school?
Pre K - 12
How do most children get to school everyday? (bus, train, walk, etc.)
Bus and car (HKIS plans to introduce mandatory busing from 2013)
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
Both the educational facilities (e.g. libraries and IT) and other facilities (e.g. gyms) are excellent - probably the best for an American curriculum school in Hong Kong.
The lower primary (Pre K-Grade 2) campus will be renovated over the next few years which will enhance facilities even more.
There is a wide selection of extra curricular activities on offer (sports, drama, dance, martial arts, scouts, rock climbing, chess, etc.) and a great summer program as well.
What has this school done to help your child transition from the curriculum in your home
country into the curriculum in your new country? Are there programs to prepare your child for repatriation?
My child started in Pre K, so transition wasn't an issue.
The school has full-time school counselors and I have heard that they work closely with kids to ensure a good transition, including transition out of the school for kids who move.
How would you describe the social activities available for parents through this school? Are there parent-teacher organizations?
There are many morning coffees, parenting seminars, etc. There are active Parent-Faculty organizations which help with governance, fundraising etc.
What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling their child in this school?
HKIS is a well run school and kids and families are generally happy here.
Academic standards seem a notch below the best schools on the East Coast (public or private) but not worryingly so.
Bear in mind that, like at many international schools, the majority of expat moms at this school do not work outside the home. Many are heavily into volunteering at school. This may be good for the school overall, but not ideal for families who have 2 working parents or for moms who want to pursue a career. If you have young kids, they're probably going to ask why you don't show up at school so often like other moms. Dads are much less present at HKIS, so this is not an problem for men.
HKIS could scale down the number of parent activities (e.g. lunch bunches, mystery reading, concerts, volunteer teaching slots, etc.) in the middle of the day. They should limit these to early morning or the business lunch hours (e.g. 8-9am or 12.30-1.30pm) so all parents can attend.
There is an excellent daily Mandarin program with different streams for native and non-native speakers.
HKIS is a friendly school where newcomers will feel very welcome.